Tight election race draws the voters

Tasman Makos Pari Pari Parkinson, left, Rupena Parkinson, Siua Halanukonuka and Viliami Lolohea vote at the advance ...
BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Tasman Makos Pari Pari Parkinson, left, Rupena Parkinson, Siua Halanukonuka and Viliami Lolohea vote at the advance voting place on Bridge St in Nelson.

The down-to-the-wire election campaign may have galvanised New Zealanders to get out and vote.

Advance voting since September 11 is already almost 100,000 ahead the total for all of the early votes in the 2014 election.

By the end of Wednesday, 806,043 advance votes had been cast nationally, compared to 717,579 in 2014 and only 334,558 in 2011.

The Tasman Makos rugby squad were among those who voted early at the Bridge St polling booth in Nelson on Wednesday. 

The Makos are in town this week, they play Southland at Trafalgar Park on Sunday, but the Tasman Rugby Union said the early vote was a way of engaging with the community.

"We've got a particularly young team this team, most in their early 20s, and we think this is something good in terms of them being a good well-rounded citizen and role models," union personal development manager Patrick Smith said.

Friday is the final day people can enrol to vote in the 2017 general election.
BRADEN FASTIER/STUFF

Friday is the final day people can enrol to vote in the 2017 general election.

But if you want to vote and haven't enrolled yet, today is the last chance to do so.

People will not be able to enrol on election day tomorrow.

Chief electoral officer Alicia Wright said EasyVote packs had been sent to all enrolled New Zealanders.

"If you haven't got yours, it means you're probably not enrolled," she said.

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People not enrolled were still able to drop in today to any advance voting place where they would be able to enrol and vote at the same time.

Voting places for the big day in the Nelson and West Coast-Tasman electorates include many schools and other key sites, from the court house at Nelson to the fire station hall at Marahau.

Election day voting places will be open from 9am to 7pm. Visit elections.org.nz for a full list of both advance voting places and election day voting places under the "When and Where to Vote" section.

Nationally, polls in the run up to election day point to a tight race between the two major parties, Labour and National.

In Nelson, there's been a high-profile campaign between three main candidates – long-time incumbent MP Nick Smith, for National, Labour Party candidate Rachel Boyack and Matt Lawrey, for the Green Party.

The three leaders of those parties – Bill English (National), Jacinda Ardern (Labour) and James Shaw (Greens) – all visited Nelson in the run up to the election, supporting their candidates on the hustings. New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also came to town, just days after his party's candidate for Nelson, Sue Sara, announced she was standing.

In the West Coast-Tasman electorate, the biggest challenge for incumbent MP Damien O'Connor, of Labour, has come from National list MP Maureen Pugh, a well-known Coaster. Green Party candidate Kate Fulton has also had a high profile this election.

Keep up with news from the Nelson and West Coast-Tasman electorates as the results roll in on election night via the Nelson Mail page at Stuff from 7pm. As well as stories, photos and videos, we plan to run a live blog.

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 - Stuff

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